Los Angeles, CA.-- The defending champion Golden State Warriors moved a game closer to reaching the NBA finals for the fifth straight year, when they defeated the Portland Trailblazers 116-94 on Tuesday night.
They came into the series without the services of Kevin Durant (32.4 ppg) who is expected to miss the first couple of games as he recovers from a right calf injury. They didn't miss Durant during Game 1 as they were led by the best backcourt in the league.
Curry (Stephen) & Thompson (Klay) kept the same momentum they carried over from the epic Game 6 victory last Friday against the Houston Rockets.
After Portland started the game with an 5-0 lead in the 1st quarter, they never trailed again. They were never really able separate themselves from the Blazers in the beginning, until the fourth quarter. Portland was down 82-75 with just over 10 minutes remaining and the Warriors outscored them 34-19 the rest of the way.
Curry who led all scorers with 36 points showed no signs of his two middle fingers being a hindrance after dislocating them in the semifinals against Houston in Game 2. He made 12-23 FG made 9-15 from 3-pt also had seven assist (game-high) said after the game about the shooting struggle he had in the previous series against the Houston Rockets:
"I know what I'm capable of on the floor. The situation calls for me to be a little bit more aggressive and hopefully that'll continue," said Curry. "Obviously it's nice to see the ball go in. I didn't shoot the ball well for 4 1/2 games the last series and got off to a good start tonight. I want to maintain that. Every game is different, you've got to re-establish yourself. That's my perspective no matter how I play."
He showed no signs of his two middle fingers being a hindrance after dislocating them in the semifinals against Houston in Game 2.
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His teammate Thompson also was a catalyst to the huge win for the Warriors. He finished with 26 points (10-24) FG and made 3-9 from 3-pt. Draymond Green who had a double-double with 12 point’s and 10 assist spoke about his teammate and former MVP Curry’s performance
"It's good to see Steph have a game like that at a time that obviously we need him most, Green said."
They were a +30 from the 3-pt line (17-7) that helped make up for the 27-15 advantage Portland had in free throws. “The schedule favored us but I thought we took advantage of the situation and got off to a good start," head coach Steve Kerr said. Kerr spread the minutes around playing six players off the bench +11 minutes scoring 37 points.
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The Blazers coming off a long and hard fought semifinals against the Denver Nuggets, had one day off before they had to suit up again and take the floor against the champs. It showed from their two best players.
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined to just shoot 11-31 from the field for just as many points as the Warriors Curry (36) and they turned the ball over 10 times. Lillard who didn’t shoot the ball well in that Game 7 victory in Denver, began his first conference finals appearance taking the least amount of shots (12) than any other playoff game. He was just 4-12 and only attempted two shots in the fourth quarter. McCollum coming off that great 37 point performance in Game 7 was just 7-19 from the field.
Lillard said about Warriors Curry being comfortable coming off ball-screens, “those are practice shots.” Warrior’s players were able to get good looks coming off pick-and-rolls and Lillard knows the Blazers won’t survive that against the two-time defending champions.
"I think we played a terrible game and we still had a chance going into the fourth quarter," McCollum said, "so we need to tighten some things up and look forward to the game on Thursday."
Moe Harkless played well scoring 17 points, and Enes Kanter had a quiet double-double with 10 points and 16 rebounds (game-high).
"It's not one-and-done. We've got a series, it's one loss," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "We've got to play better, particularly at the offensive end, but we've got to be better at both ends." Portland turned the ball over 21 times, and it’s tough to beat the champs on their home floor giving them more opportunities to score when they turn the ball over.
Warriors Lead 1-0
Game 2 Thursday 5/16. 6:00 PT